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Thursday 8 December 2016

I may have to emigrate, says suspended race row councillor

Mark Hilliard

Published 17/12/2011 | 05:00

A FINE Gael politician embroiled in a race row over his refusal to represent members of the African community says he may have to consider emigrating if he loses his job next month.

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Councillor Darren Scully, who resigned his position as mayor of Naas, will soon learn his professional fate after being suspended by his employer, while an ongoing garda inquiry is also likely to be concluded early in the new year.

He sprang to notoriety following his remarks about negative experiences as a public representative with non-national constituents and said he would no longer represent them.

Speaking on Kildare FM last month, he described his encounters with the "aggressive attitude" of "black Africans".

His comments led to a formal complaint to gardai and question marks over his future as a member of Fine Gael.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the party said the matter had been referred to the disciplinary committee, which would adjudicate next month.

However, speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Scully said: "If I lose my job, I lose my income and I will find it hard to find other employment because of the interest the media has taken both nationally and internationally.

"If I lose my job, who knows? I may have to join thousands of my fellow citizens getting on a plane and emigrating but can't blame anyone but myself."

Mr Scully, who works as an engineer with Royal Sun Alliance, was suspended in the wake of his ill-advised remarks and his future employment remains uncertain. However, the reasons why are unclear.

"I am still a little bit unsure on what grounds they have suspended me," he said.

"I have heard the term gross misconduct mentioned but I made these comments as mayor of Naas and the company name wasn't mentioned. I made them in my private capacity."

Royal Sun Alliance declined to comment.

Statement

The married father of three said he had spoken briefly with a detective by telephone and was expecting to make a formal statement soon.

The garda inquiry comes after Labour deputy Aodhan O Riordain filed a complaint.

In the meantime, he says he hopes that, given his sincere apologies and "record" resignation from his position as mayor, that his Fine Gael superiors may show him clemency.

"I made a comment that I deeply regret and I held my hands up and resigned. I am just asking people to forgive me; I want to move on.

"Obviously, I respect any decision the party makes, but hope they give me a second chance."

Irish Independent

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